So, the first album is done, the guys have a name, and they are on their way to America! But wait a minute, we talk about Their Amazing Voices, but we haven’t said what each voice is and how they work together. So, let’s listen to how the voices work.
I could go back to 2010 when they recorded their first album but for this story, I want to go back to March 2020 when the guys cancelled their last three concerts and went home. We were all locked in our houses! One world united in lockdown!
Think about how our lives have changed over the last two years. It’s surreal! During this time, many of us found a pleasant distraction by listening to our guy’s music. And the endless videos! Many of you told me that you got to know the guys better over these last year’s especially the first months when we were all in lockdown.
Remember how the guys would come on Instagram and Facebook and would invite us to listen to their conversations with their friends. And the funny videos of Piero and Ignazio.
In this video Piero is asking Ignazio to do an interview for him and Ignazio says he should ask Gianluca because he is very busy. Piero says Gianluca is not available to do it. Ignazio is surprised because he obviously knows Gianluca is not busy. Then Ignazio notices Piero’s very sunburned face. Ignazio asks did you use cream. Piero says, “no oil.” The video is really self-explanatory, and, in the end, we realize it is all a joke. The look on Ignazio’s face when he realizes this was a joke is priceless!
Ignazio, I have one question for you….
Where’s the payback?
It’s been a long time coming! Time to get even! It’s not like you to not payback!
Let’s not forget all the beautiful songs they sang for us. Especially their songs of prayer when things were really bad. They were with us every step of the way.
Piero’s “Ave Maria”
Gianluca’s “You Raise Me Up”
During the lockdown, I spent a good part of my days listening to these three amazing young men sing and at one point I said maybe I should do a review of what’s been going on in their lives over the last 10 years. After watching all the video clips including interviews and some full concerts, I was ready to talk about our guys.
But before I begin, let me say, since we are approaching the New World Tour starting in Barcelona on May 15th, this is a good time to revisit the story I wrote on March 29, 2020. A number of the fan pages picked up on the story and some have even used it on their Facebook pages to describe the voices of the guys. One person who read the story was Daniela Perani from Il Volo Flight Crew. After reading it she contacted me and asked if they could post my story on Flight Crew. The story was so popular that Flight Crew invited me to write for them. Now, I write the column Through the Fields of My Mind (www.ilvoloflightcrw.com) which explores the lives of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca, our guys ~ Il Volo.
So, let’s begin with the story that over two years ago started my collaboration with Flight Crew and my interpretation of the life story of our guys! An Extraordinary Adventure as seen through my eyes!
Let me start off by saying these three young men are extraordinary! They are remarkable, exceptional, men! And, they have revolutionized the music industry. Let’s take a look at each one….
Gianluca is known as the Velvet Voice! I don’t know who coined the phrase, but that is right on. Let’s use our senses to understand what that means. Take a piece of velvet and hold it in your hand. Now take your other hand and gently pass your hand across the velvet. What do you feel? You feel a smooth even surface that is crisp with no breaks in it. The sensation is so good that you automatically go back and do it again. And every time it’s the same. It’s pleasing!
Now take Gianluca’s voice, let the notes pass into your ears, what do you hear? A crisp, smooth, even voice with no breaks in it. The note barely passes into your ears, and you are going back for the next note. It’s always pleasing!
Gianluca is a lyrical baritone. He is exceptional because he can sing from the lowest to the highest note in the baritone range. Most baritones are limited in range. Gianluca’s voice is huge. He has a very rich chest resonance which creates a feeling of depth and drama in his voice.
A baritone’s voice is very romantic, very pleasing to listen to and is always inviting. Most songs are written for baritones. Gianluca starts, almost, every song. Why? In order for a song to be received well you must draw your audience into it. Gianluca’s voice draws you in in a romantic way and you hang on to every note. He can mesmerize you with songs like “Mi Mancherai” where he reaches into the depth of your being. His interpretation of “Surrender” is electrifying. And when Gianluca sings, “She’s Always a Woman,” he takes your breath away. The highs, the lows, the emotion, the expression. His voice expands like nothing I ever heard before. He has total command of the song. You walk away with your senses lifted to another level.
Let’s talk about Ignazio, who I call the bridge. He is a lyrical tenor. He is exceptional because he can sing from the lowest to the highest note in the tenor range. And God knows he can, easily, hit the high C. Waiting for it and knowing it’s going to happen is so exciting! He brings so much to the production, but I’ll talk more about the production later!
A lyrical tenor has a warm graceful voice which is bright and strong but not heavy and it can be heard over an orchestra. Ignazio’s voice is smooth, clean and clear, with an acute extension. His voice has the ability to increase the baritone voice of Gianluca while softening the spinto tenor voice of Piero.
Ignazio is very whimsical in songs like “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici” from La Traviata. In an aria like “Una Furtiva Lagrima” from L’elisir D’amore it is necessary to have a voice that is flawless. Not only is Ignazio’s voice flawless but he has perfect intonation and diction. He can be very dynamic. He has absolute breath control, and he has elegance, agility and dramatic expression.
He’s an exceptional tenor whose voice explodes and expands in unusual ways. You glide along every note to arrive at another dimension in his voice. His articulation is exceptional! Every word is clear and crisp! Listen to the note extensions that form the complex sounds of his voice. Just beautiful!
To address only one side of Ignazio’s voice would be incomplete! In his dedication to Pino Daniele, you hear an interpretation that is emotional and a delivery that is so amazing that you get the sense that Daniele wrote his songs for Ignazio.
And finally, Piero. Piero is a spinto (meaning pushed) tenor. A spinto tenor has the brightness and height of a lyric tenor, but with a heavier vocal weight enabling the voice to be “pushed” to dramatic climaxes with less strain than his lighter-voice counterparts. His voice is warm, graceful, bright, and can be heard over an orchestra. Piero has a powerful voice that easily reaches the higher notes. Every note that comes out of his mouth reaches us with such intensity and remains with us for a long time. It’s the voice that reaches out to you and demands your attention. Think of him singing E Lucevan le Stele from Tosca. Or singing the beautiful Spanish aria No Puede Ser from A Tabernera del Puerto. From the first note Piero pierces your soul! His passion comes through in his music. Arias are very dramatic and, Piero brings all the drama of the aria into his performance. Always a showstopper!
Now let’s put the voices together. Gianluca starts most songs because he is a baritone, and as I said, most songs are written for baritones. He draws you into the song. Gianluca will sing (in most cases) to Ignazio and Ignazio to Piero. This is how the three voices become one. Select one of their songs. Now close your eyes and listen to them sing. What can you say about this song? You can say, that is Gianluca or Ignazio or Piero singing. In the progression of the song, you hear the voices blend to form a symphony for your ears. Their voices are very distinct.
The first time Tony Renis heard the guys sing he said “I could not believe that these three young kids could sing like men of 45 years old. Their voices were huge! I realized they had great potential.” Renis called his producer friend Humberto Gatica and said “…if you are available, I would like to collaborate with you to produce these kids.” When Gatica heard them sing, he couldn’t believe their voices, he thought it was a fake, “They can’t possibly be teenagers.” Renis believed these kids would appeal to kids, mothers, fathers, everybody. He was right! They were the first Italian artists in history to sign a contract with a major American music label. Universal Music signed them immediately.
Most groups sing and you hear just a song but with Il Volo you are surrounded by voices. And the individuality of their voices entices you and it stays with you. Think of what Piero says when he introduces one of the solos, “After we were together a while, we realized we had three different voices.” He wasn’t saying that they suddenly found out they had different voices he was saying we are “three voices and one soul” and, we also need to show you those voices individually.
Let’s look at how they described one another when they first started out. I think Ignazio said Gianluca was the serious one, and Piero was the Intelligent one and Gianluca and Piero said Ignazio was the funny one. So, let’s take a look at that.
Gianluca, in most cases, seemed to be the spokesman for the group. I’m not sure if this is by chance or choice. He seems to always take the lead when they are in interviews. And he is constantly monitoring the conversation.
Piero is the intelligent one perhaps because he thinks everything through. In interviews he thinks before he speaks, and his answers are always intelligent. He’s very serious and you can tell he thought out the answer before he spoke.
And, Ignazio, the funny one. And that he is! But is it really about the joke? Or is it more about the production. Let’s turn to the production.
The stage is simple. One sign that says it all – Il Volo. There’s the orchestra. Guitars, drum, piano, violins and whatever other instruments are needed for the performance. I want you to stop and think about the performance. We know these guys have three amazing voices but, what if they got on the stage and for two hours, they did nothing but sing. I don’t think it would work. A performance needs the ability to move on. There’s no change of scenery and no intermission so how do you move the performance along? Ignazio!!! The joking he brings into the performance provides the levity to relive the seriousness of the performance. He brings a certain ease and suspense to the performance. The audience is always wondering, what will he do next. But is it always about joking? I want you to think about what I’m saying. Ignazio is constantly moving around the stage. He’s dancing and keeping the rhythm. He’s swinging the microphone around and constantly nodding towards the orchestra, Gianluca and Piero. Is that the lead up to a joke? I don’t think so. Let me tell you what you are looking at. Ignazio is following every note that is sung or played on that stage. His mind is in motion. He is sensitive and passionate with the music. He has the ability to see the music as it is happening. He knows where every instrument should come in and out. That’s why you notice little things like him smiling, nodding, pointing towards the musicians, Gianluca or Piero. He also grabs the baton from the conductor, sometimes to joke but more often to conduct.
Think about Ignazio conducting the Asti Symphony Orchestra while Marcello Rota sang his tenor part. He wasn’t joking, he was conducting. And that’s why everyone was watching him in amazement. And when it was over, they were speechless. Look at Michele Torpedine go across the stage to embrace him. He is in awe of this young man. Ignazio is music! You call him funny I call him brilliant!
Let’s go to the beginning. When these three young men started out, they were 15 and 16 years old. Think of being 15 or 16 years old and you have a dream, and someone tells you that that dream, needs to be shared. To fulfill that dream you have to leave your family, your friends, your home, you have to go to another country, and you have to share this journey with two people who you really know nothing about except that they had the same dream you did. You have to trust that the decision that was made by you and your family, was the right decision. If not, it’s back to square one! You’re going to be lonely, and you have to learn to survive without the people you love. So, you learn to lean on one another. That dependence turns into a friendship and that friendship into a brotherhood. It enabled them to trust enough to collaborate and perfect something truly amazing. Something that revolutionized the music industry. Let me go further by showing you a collaboration by these three amazing, very, very talented, young men that is so unreal that it boggles your mind. This is a collaboration of love. Stop and listen to this performance of Por Una Cabeza
Look at how they smile at one another during the performance. A smile that says yes that’s it! Their faces are ablaze! Their expressions let one another know that it works. And, finally, when it’s over, they are so excited they can hardly contain themselves. Look at their smiles, their faces are lit up in joy and their embrace says it all! They are brothers who love one another!
So, we listened to Their Amazing Voices, and we find ourselves waiting for the next song or the next album.
We will take a look at all those albums in a future story but for now the guys have just released “You Are My Everything” the English version of Grande Amore. The guys will sing it for the first time at Eurovision on May 12th. Available on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music
This is the gift the guys gave us yesterday! It brought me to tears! They’ve done it again! Phenomenal!
Did you notice something unusual in this video? Pay close attention to the video itself. I was enjoying the song so much that I didn’t notice it at first.
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!